Day #106 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…A stunning memory from Kauai, Hawaii…

The remaining fuzz doesn’t deter Nash from being ready to go. Only five months old, he’d yet to shed his chick fluff, but the dark lined eyes are very grown-up. There is no way other than a DNA test to determine the sex of an albatross. Most of the chicks are banded and tested while still in the nest.



The last of many videos we made of the Laysan Albatross in Kauai, Hawaii in 2015. Enjoy this for a good chuckle.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 7, 2015, while in Kauai, Hawaii. See the link here for more details.
Vinny awoke this morning and decided, “Today’s the day,” and began the long walk to the edge of the cliff. He waited 18 days for his parents to return with more food. When they did not return, knowing it was time for their chick to fledge, Vinny took it upon himself to head out and begin his year’s long journey, until the day would come for him to return with a mate and begin the process all over again. Albatross waddle when they walk.

One of our favorite memories during our years of world travel was the exquisite stay in Kauai, Hawaii beginning on January 16, 2015, and ending mid-May. We’d arrived in the islands in October spending time in Oahu; Maui; Big Island, where the family came to visit for the Christmas holidays; and ending up spending the final four months on the island of Kauai, known as the Garden Island for its lush greenery.

It was a long walk for Vinny and the other chicks from the nest to the edge of the cliff.

Those four months will remain in our minds for many reasons. We made many friends and enjoyed an active social life, many with whom we are still in close contact. 

Nash begins to hike from the nest to the cliff’s edge.

We lived across the street from the sea in the exquisite community of Princeville with astounding sunrise and sunset views with fantastic walking paths, easy access to grocery shopping, restaurants, and breathtaking scenic drives.

“This looks scary,” says Nash. “It’s a shame I’m having a bad hair day for my first journey.”

One of Kauai’s many charms includes the thousands, if not a million, feral chickens that are literally everywhere, thriving in the gorgeous year-round weather with rich soil providing plenty of food sources for their pecking. 


Also, with Kauai as one of Hawaii’s popular tourist attractions, visitors often take delight in feeding the chickens, roosters, and chicks. The influx of the chicken population was a result of hurricanes that wiped our chicken coops throughout the island, leaving thousands of chickens free to roam at their leisure.

“So what if I don’t look very grown up!  I can do this!”

A simple trip to the grocery store resulted in maneuvering one’s way through hundreds of chickens in the parking lot scrounging for any food tendered by shoppers and outdoor diners. Their presence left us in stitches over and over again, when they aggressively pursued humans for food at every turn.

“I’m almost there.”

Each morning we were awakened by the sounds of dozens of roosters crowing and in no time at all, we slept right through it. The rambunctious little chicks scurrying along following their moms and dads were also swoon-worthy.


Beside all these delights of this exquisite island was the indescribable joy and excitement we experienced while observing the life cycle of the Laysan Albatross that nested within a short distance of our condo in a beautiful neighborhood of single-family homes where many of our newly-made friends lived.

It’s a big commitment, worthy of contemplation.

Our dear friend Richard, who lived in that neighborhood, introduced us to the 15 mating pairs of Laysan Albatross who were taking turns sitting on their single egg in perfectly formed nests in the front yards of many of the homes. 

“I can do this,” says Vinny.

It was from that point in January that we visited the neighborhood almost daily to see how everything was progressing and to observe the loving and nurturing nature between the mating pairs. They diligently shared the responsibilities of sitting on their egg, taking turns to head out to sea for food, returning days later, enthusiastically greeting one another while sharing squid they’d found on their journey.

“Hey Ma, hey Pa! Are you watching me? Look what I can do!”

We’ll never forget February 4th, when dear friend Richard, who has since passed away, called to let us know the chicks were “pipping.” We couldn’t get there quickly enough to experience the memorable joy of watching these little chicks come to life.

What a gorgeous young Laysan Albatross, moments before fledging!

Over the next several months we shared videos and photos of our almost daily experiences with these magical birds which may be found in our archived from February 2015 to May 2015, when we were scheduled to cruise to our next location, Sydney, from which we traveled to Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia.

Vinny leaping off the cliff to his new life.

We left Kauai only weeks before the chicks fledged off the cliffs in the neighborhood, but our dear friends sent us photos of the stunning experience. As a result, many of today’s photos were taken by our friends and sent to us to savor, as the precious creatures finally ventured out to years at sea, where one day, they too, would return to nest in this very same neighborhood. Such joy!

“Finally, I’m free!”

It is these types of memories that help us get through these challenging times during lockdown and uncertainty. Perhaps, someday, we’ll return to Kauai to again be a part of this life-changing experience.


Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 7, 2019:

Seafaring boat on dry dock in Connemara, Ireland. For more details, please click here.

Disputing charges due to Covid-19…Trouble with new booking in times of Covid-19…

Cape buffalo grazing on the Crocodile River as seen from the fence in Marloth Park
.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
Today’s photos are from May 16, 2015. Please click here for more details.


As mentioned in prior posts, on March 20, 2020, when we arrived at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 3:00 am, after waiting in line for over an hour to check our bags and check-in, we were refused an opportunity to board the scheduled flight.


South Africa, our destination, was in the process of closing its borders and began refusing all incoming international flights due to Covid-19. Had we left a few days earlier, we could have been allowed to fly and could have made our way to Marloth Park when the country-wide lockdown didn’t begin until March 27th. Here’s the link with the story about South Africa’s lockdown.

The chicks were born in early February and will fledge in the next month or so. It’s been amazing to watch their fluff fall away as their feathers suitable for flying grow in.

We could kick ourselves for not leaving a few days earlier when we’d already ended our tour of India due to the risks of large crowds at various sightseeing venues. But, who knew? We had no idea how the worldwide lockdown would escalate at that point.


We’d booked the flight with Kenya Air at a ticket price for each of us at INR 32627, US $430 for a total of INR 65254, US $860. We considered this a reasonable fare for the one-way flight that would require almost 16 hours of travel time including layovers for the three legs of the flight.

An un-banded Albatross out for a walk. Its impossible to determine the albatross’ gender without a DNA test. There are no obvious markings or physical definitions. Since both parents equally share in sitting on the nest and the care and feeding of the chick, perhaps nature has made them visibly indistinguishable. 


Once we returned to our hotel, after being turned away, the shock left us reeling for a few days. We figured with all the cancellations it made sense to wait a few days before applying for a refund.


As it turned out, we didn’t apply for a refund until several days later once we were situated in this current hotel knowing full well, it would be a time-consuming process.


We began the process by contacting Kenya Airways directly for the credit. This resulted in no less than 12 hours on hold over a period of several days. Finally, we reached a human who instructed us to apply online at their site. Immediately, we applied. 

All of the chicks now have both fluffy and new feathers, as shown in this napping chick.


Several weeks later, we received an email stating that they would not process a refund. We were required to seek a refund from Expedia.com where we’d originally booked the flight.


The lengthy process at Expedia commenced; hours on hold; chat modules with no results until finally, Expedia sent us a message stating we’d have to get our refund from Kenya Airways. How’s that for shuffling us back and forth.


Our only option, at that point, was to contact the credit card we’d used to dispute the charges. There was no “live” chat module or option to send an email for a dispute… only a phone call would be accepting.

This banded albatross appeared to be a parent when she or he was hovering near a chick.


Again, I spent hours online, only to discover they were closed during the daytime hours during which we could call with the huge time difference. Usually, the number on the back of the card is a 24-hour phone number. But, again, due to Covid-19, they too, were operating with a limited staff.


There hadn’t been a single evening that I felt like spending an hour on the phone working this out. Once, in the past, about a year ago, we disputed a charge with Ethiopia Airlines to get a refund when they, not us, canceled a flight. The credit card company took care of it for us but it still required considerable time on hold.


This morning, much to my delight, I was only on hold for 10-minutes and, they had staff working at night, their time. A pleasant woman came on the line who was more than happy to assist after I explained the circumstances.

This chick has been a favorite of ours with her/his nest fairly close to the road and her/him often checking out the scenery.


The end result? In a few days, we’ll see the full refund on that specific card while they continue to work on it over the next 90-days, during which they may contact us to forward the supporting email messages if they run into any problems. In a few clicks, I’ll send the relevant messages without thinking twice.


With this resolution, we’ll have finally received all the refunds for any future travel plans impacted by Covid-19. Subsequently, we have some credits on credit cards, as opposed to debits, which we can use to pay for this past 28-nights in this hotel, plus our meals, when we’re required to pay on May 20th.

Here are two chicks approximately six feet apart although they look closer in this photo. Here again, they are tucked away napping during the wind and rain.  The parents lay one egg and thus these two are not related or, perhaps, they are.


Hotels are often paid after the stay, although some may require full payment in advance during the booking process. That hasn’t been the case here at this Courtyard Mumbai International Airport. They let us pay-as-we-go every 28 days.

When there was a problem with the Hotels.com site, a phone rep was able to get our reservation booked for the first part of our hotel reservation extension from May 20 to June 1, 2020, but not the second portion due to issues on their site.


There is a promotion for double points that we’re trying to take advantage of for the second part of our stay from June 1 to June 17, 2020, which is only applicable for bookings made after June 1, 2020, resulting in our preference to break up the two bookings for a combined 28-night stay into two segments.

By the time we left the area, the sun was shining and we spotted this typical lawn mowing scenario…Cattle Egret hovering near the mower hoping for morsels the process may unsettle.  This always makes us laugh. For this story, please click here.

Now, the second part of our booking won’t process. Their tech department will contact us with a resolution in the next few days and hopefully, we’ll be able to get these other dates with the extra points booked.


There go another 90 minutes of my life while in lockdown spent on the phone in a state of utter frustration during these times of Covid-19. Everything is different now.

That’s it for today, folks. Stay safe.

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Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2019:

John, the fish guy with Tom. John will stop by once a week.  The prior night I had fresh-caught haddock without a single bone topped with the freshest crabmeat. For more from this date, please click here.

Making decisions while in lockdown…Photos from a tropical garden, five years ago in Kauai, Hawaii…

This video of Laysan Albatross antic in Kauai, Hawaii always makes us laugh. They are such delightful and charming birds. See the link here for the date we posted this video.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click here.

A few days ago, I inquired at the reception desk if there was a possibility of an upgrade to a larger room in the hotel. I did so on a whim, hoping like some hotels in the past, they’ve given us a complimentary upgrade.


Last night, shortly before we headed the dinner the friendly staff person called our room, suggesting a price for an upgrade to the suite next door to us. It was more than we wanted to pay, but we decided to take a look at it anyway.

Five years ago today, the drive on the way to the Princeville Botanical Gardens is in itself a breathtaking experience.


It was comparable to an apartment with a living room, two flat-screen TVs, a formal dining room, a large bedroom with a huge en suite bath and a second bath near the living area. It was pleasantly and simply decorated. 


When we did the math, converting from rupees to US dollars, it was too much considering how long we may be here. After a bit of negotiation back and forth, the best they could do was charge us an extra IDR 76,177, US $1,000 more per month over and above the IDR 226,626, US $2,975 per month, we’re currently paying.

Everywhere we walked, the scenery was outstanding. Unlike many botanical gardens, the owners chose to leave some areas open with expansive green lawns, adding to its beauty.


My first reaction was that for that amount for such a substantial upgrade, this was a reasonable amount, especially since I was feeling a bit of “cabin fever.” But Tom, in his usual sensible and frugal way, convinced me it wasn’t worth it, even under these trying circumstances.


I rationalized it in my mind that along with food and tips, our total monthly expenses would still be less than we usually pay while living in a nice holiday home with a rental car, groceries, and dining out. 

Although Hawaii may not be the perfect climate for cactus to proliferate, many varieties of cactus seem to thrive as this has that I spotted on the tour.

As the family “numbers cruncher” I tend to think in terms of totals rather than individual expenses as long as we stay within budget. But Tom, the more practical of the two of us reminded me that based on our current circumstances, under so many unknowns, such a “frivolous expense” wasn’t necessary.


Sure, I grumbled a little under my breath, but overnight realized he was right. After watching the news this morning and reading yesterday’s speech by President Ramaphosa of South Africa, it’s conceivable we won’t get into South Africa for four months or more.

This red fruit caught my eye, although I was uncertain as to its identity.

As we mentioned, if the airport here in Mumbai reopens to outgoing international flights, we have some ideas as to where we can go to stay, perhaps an island in the Indian Ocean, not too far from Africa while we wait for South Africa to open its borders.


It would be a lot easier to live in a beach house overlooking the sea while we wait, as opposed to sitting in a hotel room for many more months to come. Then, of course, we’ll have the added expenses of flying to one of these islands, paying for a rental car and housing and all the ancillary costs associated with such a location.

Lipstick bamboo.  Look at these colors!

We’re better off to save our funds for that trip than moving from one hotel room to another right now. I got over it. I’m fine. I can get sidetracked at times. Tom always steers me in the right direction.


This restaurant continues to add a few items from their regular menu and tonight, I’m having salmon for the first time since we arrived here. This is quite a treat after eating two small chicken breasts every night for the past almost three weeks. 



Tonight, I’ll also pass on the paneer mahkni and just have a huge plate of steamed veggies. The chef came by and offered Tom Pasta Carbonara, which will be a nice change for him.

Shrimp plant also known as Yellow Candles.

It’s funny how during this lockdown meals have become more important to us than ever in the past. By 4:00 pm each day, I start chomping at the bit, getting hungry and anxious to go to dinner at 7:00 pm. 


Boredom? Perhaps. I’ve read online that many are eating more during the lockdown. We aren’t eating more since we have no access to food other than the two meals a day, breakfast and dinner. But, we surely enjoy mealtimes which many of you may be experiencing now as well.


When we’re safe and have basic conveniences, it’s our thoughts that do a number on us. Keeping those in check, when possible, will help all of us get through these trying times.

Be safe. Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 11, 2019:

Little and a mongoose getting along.  Mongooses don’t eat pellets so no competition for food. For more photos, please click here.

How could we not share this live testament to life? Plus, new photos from a walk…

PLEASE CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR THE LIVE ALBATROSS CAM FROM CORNELL LABS HERE IN KAUAI THAT WE’VE BEEN WATCHING SINCE THE CHICK HATCHED.  IT’S AMAZING!


Albatross Live Nest Cam




Often times, the birds, hang out together, that may or may not be related.  This could be parents of the smaller bird from a previous season or the bird of another family.

As we’re certain that all of our readers are aware, we’ve spent considerable time  observing the life cycle of the Laysan Albatross since we arrived in Kauai in January.  The adults albatross build their nests in November and equally spend time sitting on their solitary egg.

We had no idea that these birds that we’d occasionally seen momentarily landing on our cruise ship or flying above our heads at sea would provide us with such a strong passion and interest in their life cycle and well being.

This chick is getting fatter each day.  It can survive for many days when the parents head out to sea for food, utilizing it’s own fat stores for water and fuel.

For our readers with little interest in birds, we hope we haven’t bored you with our frequent posting as to their progress.  It wasn’t too long ago that we developed a keen interest in birds which has escalated as we observed the albatross.

With little wildlife besides birds in the Hawaiian Islands, we’ve found ourselves replacing our interests in big game and wild animals to birds while in Kauai for these long four months, surprisingly never being disappointed. 

By no means are we avid birdwatchers nor do we profess to know anything about birds besides the albatross for whom we’ve learned quite a bit.  However, the more time we spend in Kauai, the more of an interest we’ve developed in all species of birds. 

And yes, every morning and several times per day, when we open or stand by the windows and door to the lanai, the same pairs of Brazilian Cardinals aka, Red-capped Cardinal, Northern Cardinals and Zebra Doves, have stopped by to visit hoping for a taste of the unsalted raw walnuts we’d purchased at Costco.

This Red Cardinal stops by several times per day with his smaller female partner, looking for a hand out which we generously provide.

Even one particular Brazilian Cardinal has come to know me well enough that his scratchy little feet climb onto my hand to quickly grab at a bite of a chopped walnut from the palm of my hand.  My heart always does a flip flop.

The Northern Cardinals are shy and there’s a male and a female to whom we refer to as his “wife” who often stop by together peacefully sharing the bits of walnuts, at times taking morsels from each other’s mouths.  We swoon when we watch them interact.

Zebra Doves often stop by to scare away the smaller birds from enjoying the morsels of raw nuts we leave for them.  Tom calls them “pigeons.”

At times, there’s a scuffle between breeds but, its interesting how the same breeds get along so well.  For all we know they have a nest somewhere which they’re returning to with our tenderly offered morsels presented several times each day.

I stumbled upon the above web cam as I scoured the web in an attempt to expand our knowledge of the Laysan Albatross.  Having met Bob Waid, the author of the beautiful book on the albatross, and spending considerable time with Cathy Granholm who has been a docent for the Los Angeles Zoo for over 26 years, we feel we finally have an amateur understanding of the life cycle of the Laysan Albatross.

Yesterday, we walked to the beach at the St. Regis Hotel.  All beaches are open to the public and anyone can use the beach.  The challenge is getting there down steep paths to use the beach.

We’re grateful to both Cathy and Bob for sharing some of their vast knowledge and familiarity of these amazing birds who nest in their own yards in the nearby neighborhood here in Princeville.

The web cam shown here today is from another area in Kauai close to the sea, near the town of Hanapepe.  After watching the local chicks develop close to our home and stopping by to visit every few days, we also feel a close affinity to the chick on the web cam, south of here by no less than an hour’s  drive.

Red berries growing on a palm tree.

In these past weeks since the chicks hatched in early February, we’ve had the opportunity to watch the parent’s magical process of feeding the chick on the web cam, at a closer vantage point than when we’ve visited the neighborhood where the families reside.

Frequently,  the parents head to sea for days or perhaps weeks, searching for food for the chick which when they later return, they regurgitate for the chick to eat.  Being able to see this process is exhilarating to say the least. 

A view of the massage cabana at the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville.  Room rates start at $550 per night, more for ocean views.

I must admit that I’m a little obsessed with watching the web cam, often finding Tom looking over my shoulder to also get a glimpse.  We giggle and laugh aloud over the antics of the chick and then, when on occasion, both parents are at the chick’s side feeding, preening, clacking, dancing and singing with pure joy in their hearts.

Yesterday, we watched a third, then a fourth grown albatross come by to inspect the chick. Both the mom and dad flapped their wings, clacked their beaks and raised their headed in protest of the intruders.  The outsiders quickly departed.

Some of the other adult’s eggs never hatch and yet both parents will continue to sit on the bad eggs for weeks until finally the egg breaks or disintegrates and they realize they are not going to be parents this season.

The views from the St. Regis are exquisite.

Later, they take off back out to sea until next season when most will return to the same spot to breed and nest once again.  Oh, Life…so magical.

In months to come, the parent will fly out to sea one day, usually in June, July or as late as August and never return to the now pudgy chick who sits in the nest day after day waiting for food.  When days or even weeks pass and the parents  purposely fail to return, the chick’s appetite and newfound maturity will finally inspire her/him to fledge at long last, when she/he is already six or seven months old.

I can only imagine having the kind of “safari luck” to see the moment in time when the chubby chick in this web cam finally fledges and heads out to sea.  Oh, would that we could actually see this miraculous event!

Another view of the grounds of the St. Regis Hotel.

The chick will remain out to sea for five to seven years, resting in the water from time to time, feeding and flying thousands of miles to distant shores, to possibly return to the exact home of their birth at which time they’re finally matured and they’ll mate, often for life, repeating this same cycle in this same location.  Its truly a miracle.

Last night, we went to dinner with new friends Cheryl and Paul who are leaving Kauai today, to the local TikiIniki restaurant, a venue we’d experienced in the past.  The menu offered few options for me but the staff went overboard to ensure I had a satisfying meal. 

Tiny flowers for which we “zoomed in” to take this photo.

Today, after dining out three times this week, a bit of chopping, dicing and meal prep is on the agenda as we prepare for tonight’s dinner and also pot luck dinner to bring to Richard’s home tomorrow night. 

An hour long walk in the neighborhood, an hour by the pool at the Makai Club and time spent at the overlook across the street will provide another fine day in our pleasing, yet simple lives.

Have a fantastic Friday!
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Photo from one year ago today, March 27, 2014:

Doors in Morocco hold a lot of significance in the lives of the Moroccan people.  Beautiful and unique doors may be found at every turn when walking through the Medina, aka the Big Square and the souks.  For more details and photos, please click here.

Albatross around your neck…From whence did this idiom derive? The wonder of Kauai continues…

The beaks of the Albatross are used for preening and for signs of greeting.  Or, they may be used in aggression if an intruder threatens them or the nest.

As we continue to discover more and more about the Laysan Albatross nesting in the nearby neighborhood, we’re reminded of the idiom, “an albatross around one’s neck,” implying a daunting burden one must carry.

This mom or dad was clacking at the chick hidden beneath the greenery. It was quite funny.  If only we knew that she/he was telling the chick.

In researching the source of this expression, we came across this website readily providing us with a suitable explanation satisfying our curiosity:

Meaning

A burden that some unfortunate person has to carry.

Origin

This phrase refers to lines from the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in which the eponymous mariner, who shoots an albatross, is obliged to carry the burden of the bird hung around his neck as a punishment for and reminder of his ill deed.
An albatross around one's neck
Coleridge published the work in 1798, in the collection of poems that are generally accepted as being the starting point of the Romantic movement in English literature – Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems:
God save thee, ancient Mariner
From the fiends, that plague thee thus
Why look’st thou so ? – With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.

Ah. well a-day. what evil looks
Had I from old and young
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

Of course, this expression has little significance in our frequent observations of the nesting life of the glorious birds having made their nesting home in the confines of a small neighborhood of upscale homes, close to the sea, over the past 15 to 20 years or more for all we know.

“Showing off again?” the albatross of the left asks.

But it does remind us how sensitive and thoughtful we all must be to preserve the lives of the precious creatures that were gifted to our world that we have the responsibility to treasure and protect.  And, to wear “no albatross around our necks” for the senseless slaughter of wildlife all over the world.
“If you want to see some showing off, check this out!”
As my sister Julie’s first foray over the next several days as we continue with her eight-day vacation, we anxiously headed to that neighborhood; me, excited to share the joy we’ve experienced from the albatross and her, excited to see what the fuss is all about.
This pair has thoroughly enjoyed time together often engaging in their usual mating rituals.

She wasn’t disappointed.  If anything, she became vocal and animated as I often do at the very gift of the opportunity to witness, in person, the playful antics of these happy birds and now their growing chicks, firmly ensconced in the nest made by their parents many moons ago.

“I’ll get cleaned up while you practice your dance steps.”
Oh yes, I’ve bombarded our readers with endless photos and stories of the Laysan Albatross.  But, only through the personal account of the neighbors observing these graceful birds can one grasp the power of their presence year after year, many returning as long time mates, who literally, “come home to roost.”  For us, their presence warms our hearts.  How can it not?
A lone bird may indicate the mate is out to sea to bring back food for the nest, maybe a young single yet to mate, or may have had a bad egg they’ve finally abandoned and soon,  they’ll fly out to sea to perhaps return another year.  A few weeks ago we spotted several birds still sitting on nests with bad eggs, but now it appears they’ve abandoned the effort realizing it would never hatch.  How sad that reality of nature.

And for those of you, less interested in our frequent ramblings on these precious birds, please bear with us since it would have been impossible for me not to share the experience Julie and I had a few days ago watching the adult’s playful antics of clacking, pecking at one another, singing, and clomping about on their wayward feet, full of love and life.

The chicks are tucked into tight bundles seldom picking up their heads as we wandered the neighborhood.

Another fluffy baby.  It’s difficult to get a face shot when all of them were tucked into a furry ball on the cool windy day.

Ah, would that we humans could swoon with such love and passion in our daily lives.  The world would be a different place.  If only, we’d take lessons from the creatures that came before us in their simple search for nourishment and love, leaving “creature comforts” behind for the graceful fulfillment of the species. 

When we couldn’t find a face shot a few days ago, here is one I’d yet to post when the chicks were one month old.  They were hatched during the first week in February.

After leaving the neighborhood of the albatross, we drove to the Napali Coast and discovered yet another wonder of our world that we’ll share with all of our readers tomorrow, a wonder to us, that is almost as profound as our blissful discovery of the albatross.  Please check back.

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Photo from one year ago today, March 15, 2014:

Out for a late lunch, Tom relaxed along with me in the empty dining area of the restaurant.  In the center is a fountain filled with roses.  For details of our trek through the souks, please click here.

Life in Kauai with more wonders at every turn…Hearts turning over…Magic moments…



In the past several days, trees were trimmed at our condo complex providing us with a better view of the sea from the front of our condo.  With a view of Hanalei Bay from our lanai, its wonderful having views from both the front and back.

Our lives don’t entirely revolve around searching for the next good photo and story to share although it may seem so to new readers if they step in midway making an assessment that we’re always looking for the next day’s topic. 

Nor, does life center on the mundane although pleasant aspects of daily living that includes housekeeping, cooking, grocery shopping and a degree of lounging ensconced in mindless drivel.



The Nene Bird is the Hawaiian Island state bird, evolved from the Canadian Goose of which we’re very familiar after living in Minnesota.

For us, somehow we find ourselves relishing in the details of the above, however infinitesimal or grand, that brings us to a moment of ultimate joy and pleasure.

 

It may be as simple as the first bite of a good meal we’ve prepared, the music and credits running at the end of a great movie we’ve watched or such an experience as we had on Friday with knowledgeable albatross whisperer Cathy.

Cliff scene on our walk.


Or, it may be the result of the two red crested cardinals that stop by several times each day, alighting on the veranda railing squawking at me for yet another bit of the chopped raw walnuts that I share with them each day.  Magic moments.  They come in all shapes and sizes.

And, from a more intimate perspective, they come from people we meet, friends we’ve made, a kindness, a generosity and a well spoken or written expression that effects us in such a profound way, that it almost feels as if our hearts are turning over in our chests. 


The black rock lining this cliff’s edge in lava that formed the Hawaiian Islands eons ago.

So was the case yesterday morning when Cathy sent us an email message after reading the first of our posts, an email that made us smile from ear to ear with appreciation and reverence from the depth of the core of her intention. 


A Hala Tree.

She wrote:
“I have really enjoyed reading your blog!  And thank you for the kind words, you have no idea how much it means to me.  You got all of the information correct, I am very impressed.  The albatrosses need all the friends they can get, and I appreciate your appreciation and respect for them.  As the sea level rises and they lose nesting areas, we may start seeing more of them here.”

The thoughtful message continued on with suggestions and offers of information from this wildlife expert that only such a passionate individual would take the time to share.  We gobbled it all up in one fell swoop and later went back, reading it again in bite size pieces absorbing each word.


A closer view of the pods growing on the above Hala Tree.  In a way, it resembles a pine cone.

Easily, a reader may interpret our sharing this morsel as a case of “tooting our own horn.”  Perhaps, in a way, we’re doing exactly that.  Who among us is exempt from absorbing and enjoying a kindly expression?  Living life away from those we love who on occasion fed us such a compliment may make us more prime to accept a such a fine morsel.

However, the words in her quote that gave us the most gratification was “You got all of the information correct, I am very impressed.”  Most recently, we wrote a post as to how we don’t profess to be experts on any particular aspect of our travels or of life itself.  You know, “jack of all trades, master of none.”  That’s us.


Many of the rocky beach areas are inaccessible and dangerous with many warning signs posted along the edge.

How we strive to get the information right in our daily posts is more profound than we can stress here.  At times, we deal is vagaries in hopes of avoiding embarrassing ourselves with inaccuracies.

Then again, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over this.  Who writes with photos every single day of their lives for the world to see in the form of a loose essay, day after day for little remuneration other than the kind observations of others? 

Although we have zillions of readers worldwide (go figure) we hang onto their every word in email and posted comments providing us with feedback that fills us with all that we need or desire.


An oblong pool that is created each day during high tide.

Thank you to those of you who write and to those of you who contemplate writing sometime in the future.  And for the lurkers who will never write, you too, give us a sense of great joy as we see our numbers grow into the hundreds of thousands, hoping that somehow our tidbits of life on the move may bring you but a moment of pleasure.

And now, on this beautiful day in Kauai, the doors and windows open to the filtering sunlight, the sounds of the roosters crowing, the birds singing and the next best thing that calls to us to share with you tomorrow and tomorrow. 
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Photo from one year ago today, February 16, 2014:

A “retired general,” a Cape Buffalo, moseys on down the road hoping to meet up with a few cronies while we were on our final game drive in Kruger National Park. We were leaving South Africa on February 28th one year ago.  For more photos and details of that game drive, please click here.

The Laysan Albatross story continues…A 63 year old Albatross named Wisdom has a baby…




All photos shown today are from Jaymi Heimbuch’s article about Wisdom and her chick born last year.  Here’s the chick!

Is it coincidence that a few days before we even knew about the albatross living in Richard’s neighborhood that we read this story about a 63 year old tagged Laysan Albatross named Wisdom and her mate had hatched another egg?

Whoever gave albatross much thought, let alone found them incorporated into their lives?  We’d heard of them.  We knew they flew across the sea and had white feathers.  But, that was the extent of it.  Until now.

wisdom the albatross, with her 2014 chick
Wisdom at 63 years old, as she tends to her chick.

And, when last year this story about Wisdom’s chick hit the airwaves and social media we hadn’t spotted it until it popped up again in Facebook a week ago. Tom and I both read the story in awe of this magical bird and only days later Richard told us about the albatross families living in his neighborhood.

We’re always surprised how life is filled with serendipitous moments, however small, from time to time, making us shake our heads and wonder about the mysteries we encounter along the way in our travels, in our lives.

leucistic laysan albatross chick spreads its wings
Could this be more adorable?  Perhaps once the eggs in Richard’s neighborhood hatch, we’ll be able to take some photos of chicks of our own.

Here is a quote from the article we found online:

“Wisdom the Laysan albatross is making headlines again. We’ve watched in wonder ever since she hit 60 years old and was still successfully raising chicks. Last year she and her mate raised another chick to fledging, and this year their newest baby has just hatched!
 
“As the world’s oldest known bird in the wild, Wisdom is an iconic symbol of inspiration and hope for all seabird species.” said Dan Clark, refuge manager for Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, in a news release. “She provides to the world valuable information about the longevity of these beautiful creatures. In the case of Wisdom, she has logged literally millions of miles over the Pacific Ocean in her lifetime to find enough fish eggs and squid to feed herself and multiple chicks, allowing us the opportunity to measure the health of our oceans which sustain albatross as well as ourselves.”
 
laysan albatross chick with adult
Mom and her chick.

Here is the link to the full story about Wisdom and her chick.  The photos we share today, we’ve “borrowed” from the article which had freely been offered to share for reposting.

There’s never a moment that we are out and about that we aren’t searching for the next sign of life in nature to warm our hearts and remind us of how delicate and precious life really is and… how fortunate we are to behold its wonders as we continue to travel the world.

Yesterday, we took a road trip and have many photos of our own to share over the next several days.  It felt as if we drove to the end of the world.  You’ll see why tomorrow.

Happy Hump Day!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 28, 2014:


In our “small things” series in Africa we were excited to get this close up of a moth through the glass on the veranda door, late one night.  For other small things, please click here.